By Shaun Hurrell *
Soon, migratory birds will be arriving in Europe and Asia from their wintering grounds in Africa. Nature is getting ready for their arrival; are you?
Nature is preparing for spring and providing everything that birds will need: thawing frozen lakes; waking animals from hibernation; budding leaves and berries; and taking insects to the air. Millions of birds fly enormous distances every year to feed and breed in Europe and Asia, and they need your support too.
All along their migratory routes, children and adults will be excitedly preparing for the arrival of birds with Spring Alive, an international project that launches its 2015 season this week. Spring Alive is a BirdLife educational conservation initiative organised by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) that encourages children to take action for the conservation of the migratory birds they learn about.
This year Spring Alive wants you to make your garden or balcony bird-friendly to help support tired birds on their magnificent migrations! We need you to spring to action and make bird boxes, bird feeders and look after your birds as they arrive. Spring Alive educational events and web pages will teach children and adults how. With a record number of 3.9million people reached through Spring Alive in 2014, this is potentially a strong force for the celebration and care of migratory birds on the African-Eurasian flyway.
As well as the bird-friendly garden theme this year, every year by posting their first sightings of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the www.springalive.net website, children from Europe, Central Asia and Africa create a real-time map of the incredible journeys these birds take every year. As well as by these migratory routes, Eurasian and African schools are also connected with matching initiatives like ‘Spring Twin’.
Migratory birds face threats from climate change including drought and mis-timing of the emergence of insects; agriculture; urbanisation; and hunting. With appreciation and support of local children, hopefully these birds can find enough food and shelter to continue to return year after year.
Spring alive for birds! How you can get involved with Spring Alive this year:
- Check the Spring Alive events calendar and birds events map on the www.springalive.net website to go to an event near you.
- Share in the wonder of birds with others from Europe to Asia to Africa. Share your photos of migratory birds, Spring Alive events, birds in your garden, and actions to make your gardens/balconies bird-friendly on the Spring Alive facebook page: www.facebook.com/springaliveforbirds. Keep checking it for exciting photos and facts about the migratory species you can see, and tips on how to help them.
- Get outside and take photos of migratory birds and birds in your garden as later this year we will be holding a photo competition on our flickr page: www.flickr.com/groups/springalive/
- What would your ideal bird-friendly garden look like? Enter the “A Perfect Garden” drawing contest to show us and you could win a pair of binoculars, supplied by Opticron. Other prizes include a White Stork wall clock and bird book. Enter at www.springalive.net/world/contest
- Record your observations of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the website.
Spring Alive is an international campaign to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds. Spring Alive is organised by OTOP, the BirdLife Partner in Poland, on behalf of the BirdLife Partnership. Wildlife groups, teachers and others who would like to become more involved in Spring Alive should contact the International Manager, Karolina Kalinowska, at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information go to: www.springalive.net